What is Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide (sugar) molecule present naturally in human body. It can be found in our skin, joint, eyes, gum, hair and connective tissues with the highest concentration in the fluid of eyes and joint. They are work to cushion and lubricate, promote wound healing and moisturize skin. It is estimated that an average adult has approximately 1.5 gram of hyaluronic acid in the body.
Skin Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a powerful humectant. Being a humectant, it attracts and pull water from environment to our skin. HA is able to hold 1000 times its weight in water to plump and hydrate our skin. HA instantly plumps fine lines, smooth skin texture and makes your skin look glowy. Nowadays, hyaluronic acid is an important anti-aging ingredient in skincare products. Just like collagen and elastin, the production of hyaluronic acid in our skin gradually decrease as we age. This is the reason why our skin feel dry and lacking of bouncy as we aged. Hyaluronic acid is able to plump and hold the moisture between skin cells. You can instantly see and feel the difference after you applying hyaluronic acid serum. In addition, HA helps to support collagen and elastin for its anti-aging benefit.
How Deep Can Topical Hyaluronic Acid Goes Into Your Skin
Yes. Molecular weight plays an important role in determining how deep a hyaluronic acid can penetrate into your skin. Molecular weight can be divided into high, low, extra low and ultra low molecular weight. Large molecular weight HA has a molecular weight between 1000-1500 kDa. High molecular weight HA has the greatest water pulling effect. It instantly gives your skin a plumper and smoother texture. However, it can only stay on the surface of stratum corneum due to the large molecular size. Low and extra low molecular weight have molecular weight between 80-1500 kDa. Both of them can penetrate more easily and deeper into epidermis layer. Ultra low molecular weight HA has molecular weight of 6 kDa. It may penetrate epidermis layer but can cause irritation. In conclusion, all topical hyaluronic acid only can stay in the epidermis layer. None of them can penetrate into dermis layer.
On the other hand, injectable HA is the only way to bring hyaluronic acid into dermis layer. Hyaluronic acid in dermis layer exerts its greatest effect. With a few pricks of a needle, the hyaluronic acid draws in water to the area, plumps sunken areas, smooths fine lines and decrease shadows, then it slowly dissolves over the course of one year. You may experience some minor side effects like swelling or bruising within the first two to three days after the procedure.
How to Choose Hyaluronic Acid Products
Since different molecular weight of HA works at different layers in epidermis, so searching for a hyaluronic acid serum with combination of molecular weights is more effective. Different molecular weights signal different cellular response and repair pathways which leads to better result than just single molecular weight of hyaluronic acid. You won't probably see the products listed out the molecular weight they are using, however plenty of them now will tip you off to the fact that they are using different molecular weight in their formula.
Besides molecular weight, there is another criteria you should look for in choosing hyaluronic acid product: concentration. In the market, the concentration of topical HA ranging from 1-2%, which is just perfect and works well on our skin. Anything more than 4% has adverse effect, which will dry out your skin. Hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types, especially those with dry and dehydrated skin.
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid
You can find a variety of products with hyaluronic acid, from cleansers, toners, serums to moisturizers, but serum is the good option for you because it contains higher concentration of HA and it delivers faster result. You should never apply a hyaluronic serum on dry face because HA is a humectant and humectant needs water. Applying HA serum on dry face will draw moisture from deeper layer of skin and cause more dryness of the skin. For best result, apply your hyaluronic acid serum on slightly damp face. After applying the serum, remember to use a moisturizer rich in emollients or occlusives to lock and seal the moisture on your skin. You should never apply hyaluronic acid serum alone or at your final step.
In conclusion, there are so many hyaluronic acid serum in the market. There are some consideration when purchasing HA serum: molecular size, concentration and of course your budget. Spending time to do some research and study the ingredient lists will help you make the right choice.